Holistic Nutrition

December 2, 2022

Last updated : May 23, 2024

Lately, the world seems to be obsessed with nutrition and healthy eating. Every week, there’s a new superfood or another ‘guaranteed’ life-changing diet. Don't get me wrong; I am happy to see more people interested and curious about nutrition. But, like you, I often find myself confused and overwhelmed by the overload of information (and misinformation) served to me daily. 

To make sense of it, many will speak of the old golden nutrition rules like "A little bit of everything is the best way to go!" or "Eat everything your body asks for; just aim for balance". But let's be honest; these rules don’t work for most of us—this where holistic nutrition can help

In this guide, I’ll shed light on: 

  • why being healthy is often so difficult,
  • the meaning and benefits of holistic nutrition,
  • real people pioneering holistic eating around the world, and 
  • how you can become a certified holistic nutritionist.

Let’s dig in. 

Why Is Living Healthily Difficult?

Holistic nutrition - healthy meal with rice, soup, and salad

In my 20 years of working in the food industry, I’ve identified several common reasons why people struggle to live a healthy life. These include:

  • Feeling stressed, tired, and overstimulated
  • Being unsatisfied with your job, relationships, and environment
  • Prioritizing money and career over cultivating friendships
  • Not spending enough time in nature or moving your body 
  • Smoking or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine

It's likely you currently battle with at least one unhealthy habit from the list above or have in the past. And while an occasional poor choice may seem harmless, unhealthy patterns can severely impact your well-being over time. 

The good news? For those seeking a natural approach to reclaiming health, focusing on what you put into your body is a great place to start. It’s also much easier with the right tips and advice from trained nutritionists. Other holistic practices like yoga also provide scientifically-backed relief for a host of health challenges like depressionchronic stress and anxiety, and even hypertension (high blood pressure).

Get your free copy of the Yogi's Guide to Plant-Based Protein E-book.

How Can You Make Living a Healthy Life Easier?

Whether you’re a holistic nutritionist or simply searching for a better routine, it’s crucial to take a close, honest look at the elements contributing to our individual wellness and analyze them. The following questions can help you identify what the underlying factors affecting our health are: 

  • What do you eat when you're stressed?
  • How often do you exercise?
  • Do you have time to cook?
  • How healthy are the people around you?
  • Do you have easy access to healthy foods?

The answers to these questions will reveal the good and, more importantly, bad habits that might be the root cause of your problems. As the saying goes, “The first step toward change is awareness.” After analyzing your answers, identify areas in your life where you can regain balance beyond just diet. This is the core of holistic nutrition.

What Is Holistic Nutrition?

Balanced holistic diet with soup and salad

In simple terms, holistic nutrition is about eating for your mind, body, and soul. It’s NOT a one-size-fits-all diet, but a natural and comprehensive approach to eating that’s designed for a person's individual health and well-being. 

Eating healthy is easy when you approach it with a holistic view—considering all aspects, such as your mind, emotions, education, community, and environment. You don't have to get divorced, move to another country, or make new friends before you can achieve and maintain your ideal weight. But, to find the ideal diet, you need to look at the bigger picture and include all aspects of holistic nutrition. 

Many people work with a trained holistic nutrition coach who provides professional advice and tailored meal plans that promote healthy habits and bring balance to your entire being—not just the physical. Following a holistic diet and lifestyle not only improves your well-being, but can also prevent health conditions and fatal diseases like cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. 

Get your free copy of the Yogi's Guide to Plant-Based Protein E-book.

What Is a Holistic Approach to Nutrition?

Holistic nutrition is a way of eating that deeply respects the relationship between our diet, our health, and the environment. This approach prioritizes foods that are in harmony with nature and avoid causing harm to other living beings. It's about choosing nourishment that supports and nurtures your body. 

Central to holistic nutrition is a plant-based diet, with at least 85% of the diet comprising plant sources. The remaining 15% can include animal products like eggs or organic dairy. However, research suggests that for most people, consuming meat, fish, eggs, and dairy isn't necessary.  Let's take a look at how much protein a person actually needs. 

Protein Requirement Per Day
How Much Protein Do We Need

Plant-based proteins offer a healthier alternative, with lower levels of saturated fats and cancer-promoting agents, and higher amounts of fiber and micronutrients compared to animal proteins. A well-rounded, predominantly plant-based diet can actually fulfill all nutritional needs

At its core, holistic nutrition embraces a tailored approach to diet and lifestyle based on you as an individual. Science now aligns with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda confirming that no “one-size-fits-all” health solution exists. While overarching principles of organic whole foods and basic movement promote wellness for most, the specifics of what fuels your best life will always be unique to you as an individual. 

How to Follow a Holistic Diet: Habits from the Blue Zones 

When it comes to following a well-balanced holistic diet, nowhere has perfected it quite like the the Blue Zones. The Blue Zones are specific regions in the world where most locals make it to 100! Curated by explorer Dan Buettner, these areas give us a glimpse into the secret recipe for a long and healthy life. 

Here, people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else on earth. One dietary habit that stood out in all of these zones was that locals ate 95% plant-based diet. Meat was consumed in small amounts, around five times a month, and plates were a nutritious balance of veggies, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. Let’s take a look at the Blue Zones and their diet and lifestyle choices:

Ikaria, Greece

Blue Zones - Ikaria, Greece

Ikaria is a small island in Greece where most people live eight years longer than the average American. Following a Mediterranean diet, locals eat mainly plant-based meals rich in olive oil, veggies, and whole grains

As a result, Ikarian poeple have low rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and almost no dementia. Their slow-pace of life and love for afternoon siestas also promotes a stress-free environment that’s fantastic for the heart. 

Okinawa, Japan

Blue Zones on map - Okinawa, Japan

The oldest women in the world are found on the island of Okinawa in Japan. The low-calorie diet of tofu, veggies, and sweet potatoes is this community's secret to longevity. Locals in Okinawa also lead active lives with tai chi and meditation popular activities. 

Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia, Italy

Ogliastra in Sardinia, Italy is home to the oldest men. Here, a Mediterranean diet and strong family ties lead to happier, fuller lives. Many of the men are sheep farmers with active days that include long mountain walks. Red wine, in moderate amounts, is also popular in this region.  

Loma Linda, California, USA

Blue Zones on map - Loma Linda, California, USA

The Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) of Loma Linda are a religious group that follow a strict vegetarian diet. While there is no retirement age, the community values rest with one day off each week. Their plant-based diet, active lifestyle, and tight social bonds make Loma Linda a health haven.

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Blue Zones on map - Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

On Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, you’ll find a seaside community that live well into their 90s. People from the Nicoya Peninsula thrive thanks to their busy lives, positive mindset, and a diet based around beans, corn, and fruit. Many elderly people still do labor-intensive work and have a strong sense of purpose that gets them out of bed and into the world each day. 

Benefits of a Holistic Diet

Holistic nutritionist prepares a healthy, balanced meal

As seen in the Blue Zones, adopting an holistic approach to eating goes hand-in-hand with a long and happy life. By simply eating according to your nutritional needs and taking up healthy habits in nature, you can do wonders for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Some of the key benefits of a holistic diet include:

Prevents Diseases 

The healing power of food goes beyond the nutrients listed on a label. A holistic approach aims to get to the root of what fuels illness in the first place. For example, eating patterns centered around vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats are repeatedly shown to prevent metabolic conditions like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. 

While holistic nutrition should always complement medical treatment, it can help reduce risk factors and mitigate symptoms across various illnesses. The whole-person approach allows a nutritionist to develop a personalized eating plan based on an individual’s health status, genetics, medications, and food preferences. This tailored prescription empowers more sustainable, long-lasting benefits.

Reduces Cravings 

If we find ourselves stuck in a cycle of overeating, holistic nutrition offers healthy tips to fight cravings. Instead of shaming or restricting, a holistic practitioner asks: what is causing those urges? Things like hormonal changes, nutrient gaps, lack of sleep, or high stress could all be tugging our body towards certain foods.

The beauty is this gentle approach tunes us into what our body requires in each moment. We reconnect with natural signals of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction that processed foods have overridden. As balance returns, it's like those demanding cravings and urges around certain foods just fade. We trust ourselves again, and making healthy choices feels easy. 

Improves Sleep 

Trouble sleeping? Instead of knocking us out with pills, holistic practitioners identify underlying causes of insomnia like diet, hormonal shifts, or nutrient deficiencies. They suggest balanced meals, lighter dinners, and magnesium-rich foods to relax muscles. Soothing teas and other supplements may help, too. 

This approach also looks at your lifestyle, encouraging healthier habits in the evenings like gentle yoga for bedtime, limiting screen time, and reducing sugary foods and alcohol before bed. These small but important changes allow us to drift off easily and sleep more soundly. 

Boosts Gut Health 

Gut health is vital for whole-body well-being. Holistic nutrition powerfully supports it by identifying and correcting microbial imbalances. Holistic nutritionists look at infections, sensitivities, and deficiencies disturbing digestive harmony. 

Through a personalized nutrition plan and activities like yoga for digestion, they’re able to repair, nourish, and diversify the gut’s ecosystem. Stress management and proper food preparation also enhances microbial balance and improves overall health.

Read more: What Is Jatharagni? In-depth Guide to Digestive Fire & How to Boost Gut Health

Becoming a Holistic Nutritionist 

Holistic Nutrition coach teaches a holistic nutrition course with certification

The path to becoming a holistic nutritionist is more accessible than many realize. While specific requirements vary by region, most programs involve just 50-100 hours of science-based training in plant based nutrition, coaching techniques, supplementation, and anatomy. 

Students don’t need any healthcare background or experience to complete a holistic nutrition course. Aspiring nutritionists with busy schedules can even enroll in certified holistic nutrition programs online like Arhanta Yoga’s intensive 50-hour certification

These short but comprehensive courses are designed to celebrate bio-individuality; the understanding that genetics, lifestyle, and preferences influence what fuels each unique body best. At the end, you will not only have a holistic nutrition certification but the essential skills to help your clients achieve a healthy lifestyle through a personalized way of eating and living.

What Can You Do with a Holistic Nutrition Certification?

The options are boundless for certified holistic nutritionists. You can provide one-on-one sessions with your clients, do small group sessions online, or offer B2B-corporate model courses and coaching sessions to employers of companies. 

Personally, my journey in holistic nutrition took me to kitchens all over the world before I finally opened my own organic vegetarian-vegan restaurant and cooking school. As research continues to validate nutrition’s benefits for the mind and body, demand is growing for professionals skillfully guiding others to tap into food’s healing powers.

Final Thought 

Hopefully, this guide has shed some light on the benefits of holistic nutrition and the importance of approaching a problem from every angle. Through this approach, we uncover the root cause of our problems and solve it using a combination of minor adjustments. 

If you're seeking further guidance or have a keen interest in health and nutrition, I highly recommend joining my Online Holistic Nutrition Course. This course explores the science of holistic nutrition and provides invaluable lessons to help you or your students lead healthier, happier, and more balanced lives.

References

  1. Huang, Jiaqi, Linda M. Liao, Stephanie J. Weinstein, Rashmi Sinha, Barry I. Graubard, and Demetrius Albanes. "Association between plant and animal protein intake and overall and cause-specific mortality." JAMA Internal Medicine 180, no. 9 (2020): 1173-1184.
  2. Katz, David L., and Suzanne Meller. "Can we say what diet is best for health." Annu Rev Public Health 35, no. 1 (2014): 83-103.

Get your free copy of the Yogi's Guide to Plant-Based Protein E-book.

About the author

Michal Durak

Michal Durak is a renowned Holistic Nutrition Coach and Founder of ZOI Organic
Vegetarian-Vegan Restaurant and ZOI Cooking School. During his 20+ years of experience in the health food industry, he has developed an unique knowledge of healthy lifestyle and holistic nutrition. He has created a special program with the aim to lead people towards a healthy nutrition and magnificent lifestyle.
For the last 10 years, Michal is successfully guiding people to learn about better nutrition and modify their eating habits in his courses, classes and coaching sessions.

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